In part one of this blog post, we covered a couple of significant technological changes that many clinics were forced to implement in the wake of the coronavirus shutdowns. In the second part, we’ll discuss a few other ways some of the “temporary” changes from COVID-19 could (and should) become a permanent part of the way you do business.
Remote Chronic Care Management
As the healthcare industry has become preoccupied with treating patients infected by COVID-19, many patients with chronic health conditions are avoiding care to reduce their risk of contracting the disease, but at a potentially high cost. When patients can’t get the ongoing care they need, they are at higher risk of experiencing an acute health concern that lands them in the hospital, which then puts them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Current evidence that the disease is particularly harmful to those with underlying health conditions makes this a risky prospect.
However, there are ways doctors can provide ongoing care remotely. Tools like remote patient monitoring send important data to providers about patient health to spot potential risks early, allowing you to make contact via telehealth and prevent hospitalization if possible. This kind of remote care doesn’t have to end when the pandemic is over and can provide more continuity of care and better outcomes for patients managing chronic health conditions.
Transparency and Access to Patient Information
One of the things that many patients and patient advocates have long requested is more access to patient information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) required healthcare organizations to make medical records easier to share, but there was still a long way to go toward the transparency that patients want and need.
Patient portals were a critical step in the right direction, offering patients the ability to see their medical record, read doctor’s notes, and share that information with other providers even if they weren’t in the same healthcare system or using the same EHR software. Clinics need to continue pushing the use of patient portals as a way to improve clinic efficiency and patient access to information.
Innovation & Adaptation
Perhaps one of the most important changes that will come from our recent experience with COVID-19 is the ability to adapt and innovate quickly. For decades many in the medical community have become entrenched in certain ways of doing things, resisting change to “the way it’s always been done,” but the unprecedented arrival of a novel coronavirus forced many to think outside the current medical care box. The common theme: find ways to do what’s best for the patient. As a result, clinics and providers are offering care in new ways by offering telehealth services, finding opportunities for continuity of care in the face of difficult circumstances, employing technology in new ways, and learning on the fly.
While the “crisis mode” way of making changes will subside as we get a vaccine and a better handle on diagnosing and treating COVID-19, the ability to adapt and change should not.
Take the Next Steps Toward Your Clinic’s Future
When you are ready to start building the future for your clinic and telehealth services, talk to us to learn more about how our entire suite of integrated and connected products—from online scheduling and patient reminders to portals and medical practice management software—can help your clinic thrive post-pandemic.